Let’s be honest — some online ads simply don’t work. At least we think that they don’t. Or better put, we judge them before knowing the real reason they don’t… Now, there are almost unlimited ways to reach your target audience on the internet: targeting people who search on Google with your search ad, capturing people’s attention with your promoted social media post, direct messaging on LinkedIn or creating a short video on Youtube. There are many channels and many types of ads that can use to target your potential customers.
But why the heck don’t they work for you? Many businesses have rapidly grown thanks to online advertising and yours hasn’t. What is it that makes your campaign inefficient?
First of all, be clear on the problem you are facing. What metrics say that your campaign is not working? Is it the ROI (return on investment — easily put, how many dollars are you making out of 1 dollar you invest in the ad), cost per lead (in case of lead generation campaigns) or number of people your campaign reached? When reporting on your marketing efforts, make sure to be as precise on the desired metrics as possible. “Thoughts” are the worst reporting tool.
Secondly, who is running your ads? Is it you who has access to all the important metrics and reporting or do you outsource ad management to someone else? If so, are they fully transparent on the process of a campaign setting? Do they let you “watch the chef while cooking”?
Let us be clear: this point is crucial. Online advertising is not a black box. It truly works and increases the ROI if done well. But if not, there is no positive ROI, just money thrown out of the window… What I am trying to say is, that there will be plenty of companies charging you for the ad management who are not truly willing to help you. As a result, your campaign ends up being inefficient.
Let’s say you are running the ads on your own and still suffering from lack of efficiency. We won’t let you down. We’ve prepared a few points which — when done well — will increase your ad efficiency.
There is nothing worse than targeting someone who is not interested in what you offer. Everything else might be done perfectly, but if the target audience is set inappropriately, nothing will save you (and your wallet). In marketing theory, knowing your target audience is the very key. For your online marketing efforts, there is no difference! All in all, when running your ads (on any channel), make sure to select the target audience that equals your ideal customer profile.
Another cause of an ad being inefficient is to have an audience that is too broad. Your marketing budget may not be high — which is completely fine — therefore, be very selective and specify the audience to one that is narrow rather than broad.
To give you an example, when targeting potential house buyers, go for specific ZIP codes or nearby cities where the majority of the demand can be generated. If you know that your audience is between 30 and 50 years old, narrow it down! These are great incentives that help you keep your audience as relevant as it gets.
As said, there are dozens of channels you can use to reach your audience. But ask yourself a question: Where is your audience? Where do they spend time? How and where do they want to engage with you?
Having thousands of options does not mean you need to use all of them. On the contrary, being selective is a much better approach. Put your customer at the center of your activities and, trust me, your efforts will pay off!
I know, I know… You want to see an example of what I mean. Here you are: Let’s stick with our real estate business for now. Your audience is people living nearby, let’s say, San Francisco, between the ages of 30 and 55 years old. You recently heard that Instagram and Tik Tok are the new channels to use! You feel excited about using new social media platforms to reach your audience, don’t you? But is your audience on these channels? Let me answer that question: they probably aren’t. Most likely, these people will engage with you on Facebook, Google or Youtube. Therefore, choose the channels wisely and ALWAYS think of your audience first. Don’t follow the hype.
I don’t mean replacing English with Spanish. What I have in mind is the whole message, the content the user sees — be it video, headline, description or a picture. Remember that choosing the right channel according to your target audience is just the beginning. The users don’t care how far you’ve come to target him or her in the most precise way! What they care about (and what they interact with) is the content — your ad. Make sure to work with your USP (unique selling points — things that differentiate you from the competition) and the desire your target audience has. Empathize with your audience, combine their values and desires with your unique message and I promise you won’t lose this battle!
We’ve covered the most important factors. But what if these are done well and you still can not reach your goals? Maybe you are not really trying to. By that I mean literally trying — TESTING what works best. AB testing, as marketers call it, is a simple idea of testing 2 or more things and seeing what brings better results.
I may have forgotten to say that online marketing offers you the ability to track practically everything! Having this said, seeing which one of your messages (be it two different pictures) or your channels works best if totally feasible.
In order to get the best results, I recommend running AB tests for every campaign you start! Always work on optimising and improving your results.
Sometimes your ad just gets exhausted! There is even a term for it: ad fatigue. This happens after your ad has been efficient for some period of time, but happens to decrease its efficiency rapidly as time flies. The reason is pretty obvious. As you run your ad, targeting a certain audience, more and more people see it. Your target audience is limited, so you may reach a point where as you invest more, you only increase the frequency, but do not reach more people! Simply put, you reach a level where you invest in making the people who already saw your ad see it more times.
See the graph below that shows what I have in mind:
What should you do when your ad reaches this point and starts to get exhausted? Change something! Be it the message (content), channel or targeting. You may want to make your audience more broad as this exhaustion occurs due to a narrow audience. Changing something will start a new loop in which your campaign will be efficient again.
The whole time, we are speaking about running your ads across multiple channels (Facebook, Instagram, Google, …) which is not always intuitive. When setting up your campaign, you might have missed something that badly determines your campaign and, thus, brings you bad results! There can be a million things that can go wrong — starting from the campaign objective to the placement you choose.
Facebook gathers more than 2,4 billion monthly active users. That being said, it is obvious that the possibility to reach your potential customers is high. On the other hand, getting to know the platform takes time or costs tons of money (for agency fees). For small business owners who decide to leverage this platform, time and money are the core assets.
So how can you get the most out of the biggest social network? First of all, know the basics. Facebook (and any other advertising platform) can be overwhelming, which makes it easy to get lost. Don’t try to understand everything. Choose to learn what matters to your business the most!
We have prepared content that will help you get to know the very basic idea behind advertising on Facebook. We call it the Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Advertising and within it we cover the following topics:
Dig into the Facebook advertising by downloading the e-book below and let us know how it helped you boost your business!
One of the buzzwords and a key trend in marketing is automation. Even though it may sound complicated and unaffordable for small businesses, the opposite is true – you only have to know where to begin. If you know what to focus on, choose the right software and analyze your efforts, marketing automation can truly get your business to the next level.
Marketing automation is, as the name suggests, a category of technology that streamlines your marketing activities. It gives you the power to focus on customers with the highest potential and saves your time by triggering messages (campaigns) across multiple channels without you having to start them manually. A miracle, I know.
There is always a buzz around new technologies. We recommend reading our article about the difference between Hype & Trend. Marketing automation, we believe, is a trend to stay. Jump on the train as soon as you can. No matter how big your business is. If you choose an affordable solution, your business can never be too small for this.
There are more arguments to start using a marketing automation tool:
Stop. Doing. Manual. Work. Period. Let technology help you automate. It's not as hard as it looks. You will find out soon, just bear with us…
Let us guide you through the very first steps to start using marketing automation that will take your business to the next level.
Be clear about what you want to achieve and how you'll track it. This is a prerequisite to get started. If you don't clearly set your expectations, you won't know where to go and you won't recognize when you get there.
Do you want to save time? Great! Are you more interested in increasing your response rate? That's cool too. Would you like to generate more leads? That counts as well. Goals and expectations should come out of your status quo - no one will help you here, just you, so start by defining your goals.
Know the journey of your customer. You can only optimize if you know what leads your customers to purchase. We are fans of marketing funnels that help you (in a simplified way) understand the customer journey. Draw one for your business – you will get a better idea of where your customers get stuck.
Let us give an example here. Say you run your real estate business. Your primary selling point is your website with all the listings and offers. You run Google, Bing and social media ads to generate traffic. You might send some newsletters too.
Your primary goal is to generate leads and close them, right? There are multiple touchpoints throughout the customer journey (before you close the deal). Here is what a customer journey may look like:
Now that you know how your customers behave – you've identified the touchpoints, let's slowly start automating. Or better said, let's find out what can be automated. Tools like Hubspot, ActiveCampaign or Keap are mostly focused on email marketing, social media ads, search & display ads, SMS, widgets and pop ups on the website. These represent the channels that you can use to get in touch with your audience. Let us expand on our example above. The touchpoints where the communication can be fully automated are now marked in red:
There are plenty of tools to choose from. Going back to your potential question: “Are these tools affordable for small businesses?”, note that you don't have to pick Marketo or Hubspot to automate your efforts. These are tools mainly for enterprises that operate with big marketing budgets. Not in our case. We go small. But effectively…
Let's list some of the tools you can use to start automating your communication:
ActiveCampaign gives you not just marketing automation software, but CRM on top. Its pricing starts at 9 USD (if paid annually) and offers not just email marketing, but also SMS, Facebook targeting, subscription forms and personalised content on your website. It's a great tool.
You will have to go deeper into your pocket here. Plans start at 49 USD, but they offer you a sales pipeline plus invoices & payment management on top of what ActiveCampaign gives you. If you lead a sales team, this can be a great choice.
As well as other automation tools, Drip focuses on campaign orchestration – creating a single view across multiple channels. We worship the 360°customer view and so does Drip. Their focus is ecommerce and they offer great features, like personalised product recommendations.
It started solely as an email marketing tool, and is now moving into the automation platform. Mailchimp offers features like landing page creation, social media ads and soon-to-be-launched marketing CRM. Pricing starts at 9,99 USD plus they offer a freemium to play with the tool and use basic features.
We love Zapier – the glue of the internet. It allows you to connect two platforms that, by themselves, do not communicate with each other. Say you generate leads on your Wix website and need to send them to your Drip account. Zapier helps you do that – automatically of course. With more than 1,500 platforms, they are the real glue of the internet...
As much as we love Zapier, we adore our own solution – groost. The name itself says that it'll grow & boost your business. We do it by automating and simplifying your campaign management. If you need to generate more leads, increase website traffic or get more post engagement on your social media profile, you probably run paid campaigns – knowing that organic reach is constantly decreasing – which can be overwhelming. Learning how Google Ads, Facebook Business Manager, LinkedIn Campaign Manager or Bing Ads work takes ages. Not with groost – a single platform for all your marketing efforts. We do offer freemium too to show your business on both Facebook and Instagram – try it out!
Make sure to come back and analyze your efforts. As Peter Drucker said, if you can't measure it, you can't improve it. Analyzing what works and what doesn't is crucial. We recommend running continual AB testing to optimise every step of your funnel and every touchpoint with your customers. All tools that have been listed above allow you to do so easily.
These are the 5 easy steps to get started with marketing automation. Some of them might seem obvious, but believe me, there is no shortcut. Set your priorities first, define the customer journey and touchpoints, find out what can be automated, choose the right tool(s) and after some period of time, come back, analyze and improve.
AI, Chatbots, Blockchain, self-driving cars, cloud-computing... You have probably heard of all of those, right? Do these terms represent trend or a hype? What is the actual difference between those two words? And are they important for you, as an entrepreneur who's just getting started? These are probably the questions that jump to your mind when hearing these buzzwords.
There is a HUGE difference between what stays and what doesn't. In other words, not everything will stick and change our behaviour. This is how we can define our keyword, trend: as a change in the behaviour, habits or ways in which things work. It is a constant change. Let me explain trend in a graph, as I am a visual learner and a numbers freak…
On the contrary, hype is something that simply occurs and fades away… without any lasting impact. If I spoke in graphs, hype would look like this:
When the terms are clarified, let us look at the history and point out some of the trends and hypes we, as humans on this earth, have been through…
Presented by Diner's Club, the very first universal credit card came to use and was accepted by some establishments. Had it been just a hype, no one would be using credit cards today… Non-cash payment instruments play a huge role in our lives today – this trend changed our behaviour for good.
Now, imagine a bank not issuing a credit or debit card after opening an account – a business that did not catch the trend. This bank would for sure not survive in today's world…
… and changed the way we travel, transport ourselves and purchase goods. Startups like AirBnB or Uber have shown us there is a new way of ordering a taxi or renting a flat for a few nights. Have classic taxi companies had to react to this change? You bet they have!
You can probably guess where this is heading. There are a plethora of examples of trends that have changed our lives. These are real changes that – if businesses ignored them – could be very harmful...
Here we go. 2019 and podcasts, home voice assistants, voice search, voice order and – you nailed it – everything that has something to do with voice is slowly changing the way we behave. Is this something you should keep an eye on? I believe so. Is this something that is about to change / threaten / boost your business? That truly depends on your business industry and approach.
On the contrary, hype can calmly be ignored (or shortly leveraged). Do you remember the Bitcoin bubble in late 2017?
If not, let me briefly explain. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that was invented in January 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Its price has been slowly rising since then, and in 2017, one Bitcoin was worth around 20,000 USD. With no real value behind it! In other words, so much money was invested in this currency that the price rose rapidly. An easy economic rule: when the demand rises (while the offer is limited), the price goes up. But what is crucial, is the value behind it. There was no value at all. And in January 2018...BOOM!
Identifying hype and trend can be crucial for the survival of your business. But no one really tells you how to get started. Well… saying that there is a manual would mean there is a way to predict the future.
But there are some ways to prepare yourself. As Gartner puts it: “Three key factors will ultimately enable you to identify the potential impact of a particular technology trend on people, business, IT and the technology market:
Yes, you have to know your business and industry perfectly in order to answer those questions. If you decide to simply ignore everything that goes around you, you may get kicked out of business soon… But if you learn, build on your knowledge and keep an eye on the current trends & hypes (as you may not recognize them at the beginning), your chances will rise.
Build on your knowledge. Do not pay attention to what does not affect your business, but be aware of something that does…
We at groost.com are leveraging online advertising for small businesses, which has shown to be a strong trend that is here to change many industries. In 2018, for the very first time, 50 % of the world's population was online. Never before has the percentage of people with access to the internet been so high. And guess what… The number is rising. Is this a trend or a hype? You are now able to answer the question for yourself.
Are you up to date with what's on trend for 2019? Check the Gartner's research here: https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/5-trends-appear-on-the-gartner-hype-cycle-for-emerging-technologies-2019
Have you ever wondered about how it is possible that you actually like the products you see in your feed? That is because of the targeting. You should always know who you are talking to. Who is your buyer persona? If you know it, you can tell Facebook what your potential customers look like and Facebook will target them.
Facebook allows you to target custom audiences, lookalike audiences and saved audiences. The saved audiences are our topic in this article. Those are the audiences that you can define by choosing people’s interests or location, demographics, used devices, income level, etc. You can create Saved Audiences both in the campaign setup phase or in the Audience Manager. To narrow or broaden your audience, you can combine those as much as you like!
Regarding demographics-based targeting, you’ll get plenty of topics to refine your audience based on many options. The basic 3 are: Age, Gender and Language. That’s easy.
Location targeting allows you to pick the whole country, a city, or a specific radius around a pin you drop on the map. Imagine you are a realtor and you have a perfect house to sell in California! As an example, you can target people currently traveling or planning their next trip right there… To read more about the location targeting, read this article.
What is interesting here is the interest-based targeting! Interests are one of the best (and easiest) targeting options. They allow you to target people interested in a specific subject related to your product. Does it sound like a good option to target people interested in your competitors or the market segment you are in? To target people based on interests, you can either browse the menu with hundreds of interests or simply type some of them in and see what Facebook can suggest and offer you.
Everytime you edit your audience, you can check your potential reach and estimated daily results based on your campaign objective.
How does Facebook know? The interests are based on its users’ likes, apps they use, Pages they’ve followed, and more. Adding more than one interest will target people with at least one of them so you’ll broaden your reach.
Behaviour-based targeting allows you to target Facebook users by their purchase history, events they were interested in, personal anniversaries, etc. This data is gathered by Facebook analyzing many factors and also using external data sets.
You can include or exclude people based on another kind of information or connections e.g. ads they click, pages they engage with, the mobile device they use or the speed of their network connection. Interesting, huh? You can read more in Facebook article about best practices for detailed targeting.
Pretty much everything is summed up in the picture above. To save your time, save your audiences, so you can always use them again, copy them to make small changes and have a brand new one.
To read more about this topic, you can download our e-book below!
There are more than 7 billion people on earth. And 1 billion of those people are on Instagram. That means every 7th person uses this visual-based social media network. Launched in 2010, and eventually bought in 2012 by Facebook (with more than 30 million users back then), Instagram offers a huge opportunity to connect with your current and potential customers, as well as, your followers and fans. The growth has been tremendous, which makes Instagram one of the most well-known and most widely-used social media platforms of all.
You already know that you can leverage any platform if you have a clear understanding of the audience you can reach there – and whether or not it aligns with your target audience… To find this out, let's jump into the key stats about Instagram and its users!
Do you know who you should have in mind as your ideal buyer? What are their needs, what do they desire, how and when do they like to consume content, and through which channels? To answer these questions, it's extremely helpful to create buyer personas. The personas are developed based on a combination of customers' behavior and your understanding of their motivations and challenges. In the process of creating these personas, you’ll gain insights into how your audience thinks and discover what they want. You will find out the communication style that works for them, and the ways in which they like to consume content. Also, you can find out the ideal price they are most likely to pay for your product or what features the product should have.
For your business, it is crucial to define your buyer persona (aka marketing persona). What are buyer personas? Imagine them as a representation of the demographic where you can find your ideal customer. Creating them helps you understand your customers' needs, while online marketing gives you the ability to target groups or individuals according to specific aspects you can define by creating the personas. Your result? A more efficient and effective marketing campaign.
The challenge of current operating businesses is whether or not to take time out of your already busy day in order to spend time on a persona project. But so much information and knowledge can be gained and your marketing can really improve by doing it flawlessly. And remember, personas are also crucial to getting your 5 marketing Ps right.
1. Ask questions!
To elaborate your personas you need to determine what their goals and attitudes are. You have to ask yourself, what do they know? What do they respond to? What are their behaviors? What do they need? Where are they?
Do qualitative research to gather this knowledge. Ask them. Watch them. Follow them.
Try to create one or more buyer personas. Developing personas helps you understand your buyers as much as possible. It can provide insights into the different roles in companies or families, as well as into an individuals' life. This information may eventually factor into a customers’ decision to make a purchase.
Basically, personas are a comprehensive kind of map of your customers’ minds and personalities, helping you see the world from their perspective. With this X-ray super power, you can find and tailor your ideas to fill in the gaps, meet their needs, and ensure that your content is interesting and relevant to them.
2. How do you get this information?
Well, you are an entrepreneur, you know nothing is easy. The best source of information is interviews and surveys! Do you see your customers in person? Ask them! Do you have a sales or customer support team? Ask them about the customers. Once you determine your personas, you can schedule user interviews that last about 20 minutes or send them a survey. Make sure they get a little reward afterwards :)
A good source of information is also statistics and reliable broad research done by companies.
I am sure you have heard that some companies even hire trained anthropologists to watch what people do and how they behave. Your research can be as deep as you want. Just do not bother your clients for too long.
3. How do you create the personas?
Once you’ve collected your responses, comb through your research to identify the common threads, concerns, hopes, desires, and challenges people face. Sometimes, you may notice a common theme or even phrase in your responses. These are incredibly valuable.
Have you gathered all of your data from research? Now you can start developing your unique segments. Divide the people by:
e) Whatever is relevant for you e. g. job title
4. Finalize them!
Once you have your “rough” personas, it’s time to polish it all. Make sure you have a name for each, and circulate your personas for feedback from relevant people (e.g., your sales team). Once refined, memorialize these in a Google Doc or Excel spreadsheet that is easily accessible. Use these finalized personas to brainstorm content. Going forward, you should be able to identify: Which persona will be interested in your product, service or idea. Why will that persona be interested in it? Make sure to regularly review and update personas, as well.
The more detailed your personas are, the better your marketing targeting can be. You should be able to imagine them or draw them. You should be able to simulate an interview with them, to know what tone you should use, and what their interests are. Imagine that you are selling something to them personally and play with your new imaginary customers.
You know you did a good job if your personas are: Divergent from each other, feel real, and are easy to explain. Create files for each one, so you don't forget anything about them, hang pictures of them around the office, so you feel they are present. If you have coworkers, they all should know these personas perfectly. Your aim is for the company to culturally adopt the concept of talking about these personas as real people.
Your created personas will help you understand your audience’s concerns, preferences, and goals. When you know these, you are able to create content your buyers will find engaging, relevant, entertaining and valuable. Personas help you determine that very sort of content you will need. If you divide your current content down by persona, you can simply see which personas are getting enough content - they are nurtured, and which personas need more or a different kind of content.
Because you already know who you are talking to, set the tone, style, and delivery strategies for your content according to your personas. For example, some buyers respond best to a friendly, conversational voice, with some jokes and questions, while others trust a more formal tone and serious negotiation. By creating your personas, you’ll determine the best tone and style for your content. You can even target the topics you should be writing about for each persona.
At the end of the day, personas tell you where buyers prefer to get their information. Are they like bookworms? Do they like to sink their teeth into 100-page guides, or do they prefer short, concise texts and easy graphics? This information will help you set the way you create your content for each persona and how your buyers will discover it. It's the same for your creatives. Some people won't watch a video, some will only respond to a colorful picture and some only to a call to action post. Create content that will engage your buyers more effectively.
Note: The delivery strategies for your content may or may not be the same for all your buyer personas. It is also okay to have only one or to have many buyer personas, it's up to you!
Besides demography e.g. age, location and sex, each platform gives us a different way to target the customers.
LinkedIn, as an employment platform, allows us to target people based on their job title, their knowledge, education, abilities, their current employer, as well as companies they have been employed by or their level of seniority.
Facebook is more informal and fun, so you can target people according to their interest, pages they like, devices they use, travel plans or according to an upcoming birthday in their friend list. There are a vast number of options you can select to describe your persona(s) as precisely as possible. If you take an interest in this topic, you can read more about Facebook targeting according to interests , as well as location.
To sum it all up…
Create a comprehensive list of your personas.
One campaign should target one persona, for a more effective strategy.
Smaller campaigns, with an in-depth target, are more effective with an individual persona.
Having said this, buyer personas are something you REALLY need to run your business and use the online platforms effectively. Got any questions? Don't hesitate to contact us!